Gayle Tanaka

About the Print
“It is the process of formation of what was/is behind  my face that my work explores. Through the manipulation of imagery and color, I hope to reveal some of  what goes on behind the changing face of America.  

“In the print Face-Off, I have taken my face and made  it into a mask of Color…the tones are simply layers of  ink on a piece of paper, just as skin is a layer of tissue  on other tissue.”

Gayle Tanaka

Born October 16, 1953
Chicago, Illinois
About the Artist

Artist and printmaker Gayle Tanaka earned her BFA in Painting from the University of Hawaii and an MFA in Printmaking from San Francisco State University.

She exhibited her work nationally at institutions including Soho20 Gallery in New York City, El Museo in Buffalo, New York; A.R.C. Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; A.I.R. Gallery in New York City, San Francisco Art Commission in California, Chicago Cultural Center in Illinois, Olga Dollar Gallery in San Francisco, California; Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston, Illinois; Jewish Museum in San Francisco, California; Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in Staten Island, New York; Anchor Graphics in Chicago, Center for Photography at Woodstock in New York, Japantown Peace Plaza in San Francisco, Honolulu Academy of the Arts in Hawaii; and Rice Media Center Gallery at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Her awards and residencies include a BCAT/Rotunda Gallery Artists’ Residency in Brooklyn, New York; a Knight Foundation Visiting Artist Fellowship at Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; an Anchor Graphics artist residency in Chicago, a Puffin Foundation Grant Award and a Kala Fellowship Award in Berkeley, California.

Curriculum Connections

Suggested Topics for World History and Visual Literacy

World History, Visual Literacy

The archives of history have manifold reference points and are opening up to public access to offer new narratives based on the documents and evidence that exist, including first- person notes and recorded interviews. As new resources become available and new evidence comes to light, an “archival fever” has arisen among artists who incorporate found photographs and documents into their artwork and offer profound, documented evidence and versions of history that may have been hidden, denied, or misrepresented previously.

Our abilities as viewers to understand the messages and connections that the artists hope their imagery will convey is largely based on the extent of our own experi- ences and information that we bring to viewing and interpreting the artwork. In many countries, these types of messages are not brought to broad public attention and are often considered subversive.

Questions to Consider